JHU Housing & Health Collaborative

Life Course

Cancer and Housing

Projects investigate the link between housing security and cancer across the continuum.

Background: Housing insecurity may worsen cancer outcomes and, conversely, cancer, including its treatment cost and impact on employment, may undermine housing security.  

Approach: Our team is exploring these relationships with current projects that include a systematic review of the research linking housing and cancer and investigating the impact of historic redline and contemporary mortgage discrimination on lung cancer mortality. The team has also been involved in the creation of the SEER-Medicare and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) linked dataset which will, for the first time, enable researchers to study the impact of housing assistance using cancer registry together with claims data.  

Team: The study team includes Craig Pollack, Lauren Barrow, Syed Qasim Hussaini, and Amanda Blackford at Hopkins. Robin Yabroff, Leticia Nogueira, and Qinjin Fan help lead the effort from the American Cancer Society. 

Mechanisms to Improve Health Through Community Land Trusts

Explores whether and how stakeholders in community land trusts (CLTs) perceive connections between CLTs and health and well-being and identifies mechanisms underlying those connections. 

Background: Community land trusts (CLTs) have gained attention as a shared equity model to create perpetually affordable housing and achieve other community development goals. A CLT’s key strategy is to acquire land and set affordability requirements for the owners of residential or commercial buildings on that land. Given the growing awareness of affordable housing’s public health impacts, it is important to assess whether the theorized pathways between housing and health are relevant in the CLT setting, and to better understand how CLT leaders themselves think about these pathways. However, very little research exists on the potential health-related impacts of CLTs, despite a growing body of case studies.  

Approach: This is a cross-sectional qualitative study. Using theoretical sampling and semi-structured interviews, we aim to explore how CLT stakeholders understand general connections, as well as specific theorized mechanisms, between CLTs and health. We aim to interview at least 30 residents/lessees and staff members serving in leadership roles in CLTs across a range of regions. We will use a combination of inductive and deductive coding to identify emerging themes from participants. 

Team: The study team incudes Craig Pollack (PI), Justin Rose, and Loraine Arikat. 

Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Health

Investigates the association between living in a property funded by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and child health.

Background: The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)—the federal government’s largest program to increase the supply of new affordable housing—has supported the creation of over 3 million rental units since its inception in 1986. Little is known, however, about the health of low-income children living in LIHTC-financed housing.  

Approach: Using data from the National Health Interview Survey (2004-2016) linked to data on LIHTC properties, this study provides national estimates for health status and healthcare access among low-income children living in LIHTC housing. Prior work, led by Marc Shi, used qualitative interviews to explore how developers, government officials, and others involved in the LIHTC process consider the intersection of health with LIHTC developments and the allocation of tax credits. 

Team: The study team includes Craig Pollack (PI),  Matthew Eisenberg, Amanda Blackford, and Sarah Gensheimer. 

Funding: The study is funded by a grant from Eunice Shrive National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R03HD098411) and the Johns Hopkins Population Center.